BEST BARISTA - Andy Egloff, Field of Beans - Talk about your dogs learning new tricks. Andy Egloff says that when he met his wife Sam -- they were both living in London, working at the Hard Rock Caf & eacute; there -- "I didn't even drink coffee."
Now, Andy's a coffee addict, and he and Sam run the Field of Beans coffee shop and drive-through on North Maple.
"People kind of associate my face with a good cup of coffee," says Egloff, who works the counter and serves drinks along with his employees.
Field of Beans opened its drive-through five years ago, just one of dozens of espresso stands in the city. Sam had worked at coffee shops, and an espresso stand in Boise was up for sale. The couple bought it and trucked it to Spokane. They chose a Portland roaster to supply their blends. Their selection was, Egloff explains, not quite scientific. They obtained coffee samples from about 40 roasters, then drank coffee for two days, "and pretty much got loaded out of our minds."
Besides its coffee, Field of Beans has long offered mugs, baskets and other small gifts, along with simple food. In October, Egloff opened a sit-down shop that offers lunch fare like scones, pasta salads, soups and gelato, all made fresh. Trust us on this one: With the well-lit, warm interior, a table at Field of Beans is a comfy place to waste some serious on-the-job time. Read a book, talk with friends, stare out the windows while munching on a gelato (try the peach flavor).
There won't be Field of Beans stands popping up around town, at least in the foreseeable future, says Egloff. It's tough to provide personal service that way, you see. But in one neighborhood location, serving the regulars, "You pretty much participate in their lives. You know their husbands, their kids. You have their drinks ready when they get here."
2nd: Anyone at Starbucks
3rd: Sarah Briggs, The Rocket